Front axle evaulation for FAQ (1 Viewer)

landtank

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With so many questions on caster and front end alignments and issues I thought I'd put together a post on how I evaluate an axle for problems.

I'd do this if I had problems or before I brought the truck in for an alignment.

I like to start at the passenger side of the vehicle first. This is mainly do to the fact that it's the first wheel right off of the steering box.

Once I've jacked up the passenger side wheel off the ground I do a cursory check of the lower knuckle arms. There have been issues with these nuts loosening up and the arms coming loose and giving driving issues.

Attached is the jack in place and a shot of the lower knuckle arm.
Jack placement.JPG
lower control arm.jpg
 

landtank

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The next thing I do is check for bearing play in the tire. This is done by grabbing the tire at 12:00 and 6:00 o'clock positions and lifting the bottom of the tire as you push the top of the tire. Any play here would mean that the bearing is loose and needs your attention.
Wheel bearing check.jpg
 

landtank

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Next up is to look for play in the tire rod ends. This time you grap the tire at 9:00 and 3:00 o'clock positions and push left and right. Any free movement would mean that a Tie rod end is likely worn. Since we've started on the passenger side and free movement would be in the drag link which goes from the steering box to the knuckle arm on the passenger side. Attached are pictures of both ends of the drag link and the hand position for checking for play.
TRE Check.JPG
PS drag link.JPG
TRE at steering box.jpg
 

landtank

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Next up is to check for play in the trunion bearings. This requires the use of a bar as you alone might not be able to get the needed force on the tire to feel the play. You'll need to lift the tire with the bar. I usually have my left hand on the rim to feel the place

Attached is a pic of how to set up the bar and where the trunion bearings are located.
Trunion Check.jpg
upper trunion.JPG
lower trunion.JPG
 
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landtank

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At this point I put the passenger side tire back on the ground and perform the same set of checks on the driver side.

The only difference is that and play in the tie rod check would be a result of a warn tie rod end on the tie rod. This is the rod that travels behind the axle and links the two tires together.

Attached is a picture of a tie rod end
Tie Rod End.JPG
 
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Very nice. I don't really have anything constructive to add but eeewww I'm glad the underside of mine doesn't look like that. Yeah rust free.

Sorry.

Jack
 

landtank

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During these checks, any play needs to be identified. This usually requires a second person to do the moving and you to grab onto the suspect parts and find where they are loose.

Loose would mean that there is some free play where there is little to no resistance in movement. Being able to apply enough force to get some flex out of the system doesn't constitute play.
 

boydmick

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When checking for play in the trunion bearings; which way am I moving the rod?
 

landtank

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Very nice. I don't really have anything constructive to add but eeewww I'm glad the underside of mine doesn't look like that. Yeah rust free.

Sorry.

Jack

Cameras tend to accentuate red so they always look worse then they are.

On a side note Massachusetts is starting a new sanding policy. They found that by adding brewery remnant to the sand they can greatly reduce the amount of salt used and it's more effective. All this and it costs less also.

It just smells like a frat house after a party when you drive on it the next day.
 

Waggoner5

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Great post, I may steal some of it for a sticky to be attached to another thread. people like pics.

Dang the salt is bad up there.
G
 

landtank

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Great post, I may steal some of it for a sticky to be attached to another thread. people like pics.

Dang the salt is bad up there.
G

My last drive was 7 hours on I90 in NY after a snow flurry. Those bastids were out in force as it was a lean year up to that point and they needed to get out on the roads.
 
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The next thing I do is check for bearing play in the tire. This is done by grabbing the tire at 12:00 and 6:00 o'clock positions and lifting the bottom of the tire as you push the top of the tire. Any play here would mean that the bearing is loose and needs your attention.

this is a good idea. all of this is. i brought my truck to land tanks to have him help me with the phh and it turns out my wheel bearings were loose as hell. :doh:

i had been complaining about castor and all time time it was play in the wheel! these checks will take no more than one hour. i am going to do them every time i get the grease gun out at 5K or so...
 

Grench

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This needs to be linked from the troubleshooting FAQ. It cleared up a few things for me. I was fully unaware of how to check the trunnion bearings.

Great writeup!
 
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Kudos Rick, as for the salt :mad: :mad: The brewery by product can be expensive but I've experienced favorable results with it. At a college in Needham, MA that I used to work at the grounds crew used it. I was the safety person at the time and within minutes of the application my phone was ringing of the hook regarding some weird smell all over campus.

Nice job documenting some good things to know/do.

:beer: :beer: (its not just the beverage of choice anymore:D)
 
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thanks for the great info! Being new to the cruiser world this site has nothing but help and great people! The pictures help to visualize exactly what your talking about! Thanks
 

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